This and That for Year 2

In my last post I did a mid-year evaluation of how things are going. Here I map out a “how-to” to improve our year. Maybe it will be helpful for those starting Year 2. Some of these resources I found in the forums for Ambleside Online. There is a lot of gold to be unearthed there and many of my favorite online resources have been found there. This post doesn’t detail all of my fresh efforts, but mostly what new resources are being added.

Here I have linked the headings for each subject to that particular section in Year 2 on Ambleside Online’s website. I hope I have kept within copyright.


I wanted to add more maps into our Bible readings. I printed off some maps from’s Study Guide section. I will use them to look at during readings to gain a better sense of place, and perhaps some simple map drills. Yes, these are found in our scriptures, but for drills and such they will be seen and used more in a binder rather than at the back of his quad. I also purchased this insert of Bible maps with “then and now” overlays for my student to keep in his binder, and then this Bible atlas with overlays as well to have on our shelf; however I have yet to receive them to recommend them. As I mentioned previously, we read The Book of Mormon together in Morning Time; I will go over our Morning Time efforts in another post.

History and Tales

I am putting maps of Britain and the world in his binder for easy reference and map drills. In the forums forever ago, someone had linked to d-maps, which is a goldmine for map drills and such. We now have atlases of both British and European history on hand, and I will detail their usefulness after having put them to use.

“I venture to think that a child who begins history thus–not at the Creation, nor even at the Christian era, but at his own “nativity”—will get to understand it better than if he tried to survey the world from any other “pin-point” in time. -from this helpful PNEU article

We will start C’s personal timeline, a Child’s Own History, something we should have done in Year 1. I am not sure how I will go about it yet, having him draw on a poster board, or use actual pictures? This is something I have been over-thinking, I am sure. I have seen variations of it, and perhaps we just need to make one.

In regards to a basic timeline, I decided I like how Celeste Cruz has her Form I students keep a timeline, so we will start that, hopefully adding two entries each week to build the habit. I doubt we will continue with our fancy wall timeline, since it required little work on the child’s end, and after reading The Living Page, I am convinced it is little more than a cut and paste job.

On the forum, someone linked to this map for Little Duke, I mentioned it in my previous post. We use Ambleside’s Study Guide a bit as well.

We will implement these habits of time and keeping, and maps and such, next week. Wish us luck! He will eventually start a Map of Centuries, and then a Century Chart, although those I believe are projects reserved for Form II. I would like to ease into them a little at the end of our current year though, and into Year 3 because C enjoys making charts and maps, and I don’t want to just jump into it all at once when we arrive to Year 4 (among all the other things that are added in for Year 4).

Natural History and Nature Study

We are making a concerted effort to go on a nature excursion every week. I have sought out better ways of storing supplies for each child, etc., and I plan on being more intentional with our nature journals. Drawn narrations of the Burgess book will go in his nature journal, but drawn narrations do not replace oral narrations in our school. We will also be more intentional about following AO’s nature study rotation. As a teacher, I am attending a nature workshop in August with John Muir Laws, so that it something to look forward to, and I am very excited!



Literature and Tales

I purchased through a group discount Shakespeare in Bits to view some animated scenes. I had difficulty in finding an appropriate Romeo and Juliet for my children to watch after learning the play. A lot of plays that may be worth watching are older and harder to find, and I don’t want to purchase a DVD of something only to not like it. Shakespeare in Bits only has five plays available thus far, but my guess is that three of them are plays that aren’t typically considered kid friendly, so I think they will come in handy. I also love that I can select scenes to watch, that way we don’t have to devote a whole evening to a watching a play. (Which they probably would enjoy, but I want to get people to bed at a decent time around here, so we will do that when they are older.)

I printed some Pilgrim’s Progress maps for fun, and a map I found of The Wind in the Willows. Here is the Pilgrim’s Progress page from AO, full of great information. My kids have loved both the audio-drama, and Dangerous Journey is huge favorite. Obviously the doctrine here does not align perfectly with LDS doctrine, but please don’t let that sway you from reading this classic. It is weaved heavily into the fabric of English literature, and it is a wonderful way to introduce big ideas and heavy topics to your children. Marmee, in Little Women, gifted all of her daughters with their own copy, and told them to read it often. Seeing what an effect it has had on my own children has made me appreciate it all the more, and who doesn’t want to emulate Marmee a bit more?




We will be doing map drills and I printed maps from d-maps to keep in C’s binder to have on hand to supplement the Holling books. I may also search for videos to supplement as well (something I wish I had done with Paddle-to-the-Sea), if applicable and appropriate.

I purchased some other geography books, and will add them to our Morning Time, as needed, since required geography concepts for this year are things my son already has a good grasp on. We will also try busting out the Pin It Maps more; the children adore doing them in their spare time. (Full confession: I still have many, many pins to put together, so it is another reason the dust has gathered on our Pin It Maps. It’s a fun resource, but it is also a lot of effort to make the pins.)

I will stop now and later post about revamping weekly work in our Morning Time, though I touched on Nature Study a bit in this post.





Repetition in Nature May Not Be a Mere Recurrence

Here I return to this dusty thing, another recurrence of blogging. I have felt inspired to share in more detail about our home education journey. One of the reasons I haven’t wanted to blog for some time is simply I have nothing of importance to add to the great mosaic of ideas on homeschooling other than our own experience. (I also still take issue with ads being on this blog, so I hope your Adblocker is on.)

I questioned why? If I wanted to simply keep a journal, why make it a blog? Why not keep it private, handwritten? A blog allows me to use images more readily and ways to link to pertinent resources. People ask questions all the time, though I am no veteran. At first I loved talking about everything I have learned and discovered (and continue to learn and discover); I still enjoy those conversations, but I don’t always have the time for them. Through a blog I am able to direct people to my thoughts on a particular topic if they are that interested in my opinion. I do write down what we do everyday in a spiral notebook, so I am keeping a record, a checklist/scratch paper kind of thing which happens to be more of a celebratory “hurrah, we finished the things!”

I enjoy homeschool checklists so much more than cleaning checklists because once I have read a chapter of a certain book to a certain child I don’t have to do it again! As opposed to cleaning out a drawer or wiping pee out of the bathtub. Those things require a different kind of obedience and it is one of my greatest failings and an easy spot in my character that begs serious repentance. (I also do everything with my kids. Reading to my children is much less stressful than trying to get a five year old to clean a toilet properly with a faucet-obsessed toddler nearby.) But as handy as a checklist is it does not well portray the experience; check-marks fail to connote the beauty, the awe, and seeing a notebook full of them conveys not the gentle art of tending to a child’s mind.

My last and final wish for this blog is to dust off a few writing skills, and unload those things that no on in my life wants to hear. Not private thoughts reserved for a professional therapist, but mostly everything else. It was made quite apparent to me how tedious and unwelcome my conversation is, so my new habit is to write more and say very little—a lofty goal, if I ever set one. Still perhaps if I can cultivate such a habit I will in the end become a better listener.

So there it is, my own assurance to myself for why I would do such a thing as put effort and time into a blog such as this.

Blue in the Face

Holding our breath—tight! Lips pursed! Cheeks stretched like bulbous drums! We are venturing into the crazy-go-nuts–never thought we’d be that family—amazing world of homeschooling.


I hadn’t planned on blogging again, not ever—no, never, but as we prepare to take this great, unconventional leap, splashing about in the water, I have realized it would do me well to have a place to come up for air, to take a deep breath, and to document our bright spots, our discoveries, our triumphs. Homeschooling is something I love talking about—but I pity the persons in my life who have to give ear to my enthusiasm when they’d rather be listening to just about anything else. Curriculums! Philosophies! Early Childhood Education! Montessori! Reggio Emilia! THE LOVELY CHARLOTTE MASON! LIVING BOOKS!! If you’d like to hear me talk about the subject offline, I will still happily wag my tongue. But here, no one expects or rather, longs for me to change the subject, and therefore I shall take a big, burpish gulp of fresh air, grin like a fool, and wax on and on about the joys of homeschool. Like I actually know what I’m talking about. Because, really? My oldest is not yet four.


Okay, so I may have yet an abundance of experience tidied up in my meager reserves of home education knowledge and wisdom, but I have studied the subject for the better part of three years, and continue to do so. Yes! So stay tuned, Mom!